The dramatic geography, ancient lore and unspoilt seaside give historic Hampshire an edge over the Home Counties of London as a place to settle, raise a family and retreat to nature. Still, Hampshire is, at its closest, 55 miles from London. Those with ties to the capital or working in the west of London can commute quite happily. Residents get the best of both worlds.
Expanding or improving a home in a Hampshire conservation area requires an architect fluent in the local codes and guidelines. In places where fewer of these properties exist and preservation laws are less stringent, there is opportunity to buy and build on land more freely. Hampshire architects have done wonders preserving and modernising the county’s most historic properties and designed boundary-pushing new architecture.
Scenario has had a successful relationship dealing with planning departments throughout London and the West Country. Our experience, along with our reputation converting historic homes with a compassionate eye, has made our boutique architecture practice one of the most sought-after in the UK.
We launched our architecture practice in 2007 and have spent our careers formulating a fresh, collaborative approach to residential design. Our projects marry the UK’s rich architectural traditions with unique contemporary design, emerging with striking contrast and style. The lifestyles of our clients dictate the layout and specs, so that the final result reflects their spirit.
In 2018 our flagship residential project Scenario House was shortlisted for the RIBA London Awards. The house demonstrates our commitment to period properties, incorporating the needs of homeowners today. Elements of this project can be adapted to any period or contemporary home in the UK.
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Your Hampshire project
If you are contemplating a home restoration, renovation, addition or new build in Hampshire, we can help. To help understand what this entails, take a look first at our illustrated synopsis.
Most architectural projects in and around Hampshire must seek approval from the local council and building department. Hampshire architects will be able to help navigate that process, working collaboratively with officials to see through any application. Scenario Architecture has had a successful record securing planning permission on behalf of our clients.
Discover if your chosen architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the “planning applications” page of your council’s website and enter the architect’s name in the search criteria.
Scenario is an established architecture practice focusing on contemporary residential design. We take on projects of every scale and scope, from home refurbishment, renovation and expansions to new-builds.
Working with Scenario Architecture
This guide will suit anyone seeking consent from the council to alter a property. It discusses the basics of planning and our strategies for completing the process successfully.
A RIBA Chartered Practice, we comply with strict health and safety criteria, as dictated by the UK’s governing body.
If you’re seeking Hampshire architects, visit our online portfolio. Our highly skilled team collaborates closely with every client on sketches, detailed designs, planning, tender and construction all the way through to completion. We deliver our services to the agreed budgets and deadlines.
Real-time digital visualisations and virtual reality are efficient tools for seeing through a project, choosing fittings and simulating natural light. Scenario architects use innovative 3D design technology on all projects.
This Chartered Institute of Building case study features a Scenario project and demonstrates the benefits of advanced technologies for our domestic work.
In our client's words
Great ideas and vision to help with our substantial improvement of a Victorian terrace. In our experience Scenario's method prioritises the final result. That may mean more professional fees or higher quotes from contractors, as they understand the exact requirements.
Great, professional service. Good drawings and models and ultimately passed planning at the first attempt with Hackney Council. Would certainly recommend!
Scenario Architecture have created an outstanding design and space that was beyond my expectations. The design was through their unique process of understanding the client’s daily scenarios and collaborating with the client to come up with a unique design. The design process is one of the most memorable parts of the process and they also stretched my existing ideas to help create this unique space. A stress free journey throughout the whole process which Scenario were indispensable by giving advice on many difficult design and build decisions.
We wanted to renovate our house in a conservation area in central London. Given this involved a complete demolition and new build with an extra floor on top, getting planning approval was always going to be tricky. Scenario did an amazing job on the new house 'envelope' and throughout the planning phase. We couldn't have wished for better from them and having succeeded in gaining planning approval owe them a very big 'thank you'.
Scenario were great at thinking imaginatively and coming up with a design for a ground floor extension that was more ambitous than other architects we spoke to. They also helped us find a contractor who was able to complete the project working within timescale and our tight budget. I would recommend for mid to large sized projects with sufficient budget to allow for full utilisation of their creativity.
Hampshire benefits from dramatic geography, unspoilt seaside and an almost inconceivably rich history, which combine to give the county an edge over most others in London’s orbit. Located upwards of 55 miles from central London, it sits within commuting distance of both the capital and the south coast, making it a great place to settle dowm, raise a family and retreat to nature. Residents get the best of both worlds: cosmopolitan living and an active, outdoorsy lifestyle.
Winchester, Hampshire’s county seat and one of its most significant cities, has been inhabited since before the Romans. The city rivalled London as the country’s most populous urban centre until just a few hundred years ago. It has since seen coastal towns like Portsmouth and Southampton pass it in size and scope. Yet all of the above maintain a great number of listed properties well maintained for contemporary living. The average household income throughout Hampshire remains steadily high, and locals are extremely house proud.
Drive around the Hampshire’s finest towns and landmarks, from Lymington to Southampton, Porchester Castle to the South Downs: you’ll find all manner of housing stock, from gingerbread cabins in the woods and clapboard seaside cottages to mock Tudor townhouses and sprawling brick Queen Anne estates surrounded by lawns. It would be difficult to find a similarly high calibre of real estate so close to London with the same natural surrounds and quality of life. Yet regardless of local vernacular and heritage red tape, Hampshire architects can tailor these historic homes to very specific, modern tastes. The great pool of Hampshire architects has kept them up to date, for the most part.
The area of Hart, clinging to the River Hart just west of the Surrey border, recently ranked Number One in the annual Halifax quality of life study. The area combines proximity to city life with access to ancient countryside, outstanding schools and an active summer social calendar. The pretty towns of Lymington, Midhurst, Petersfield and Stockbridge regularly rank highly as well, for their lively markets, awe-inspiring architecture and protected wildlife. The reputation for fine building stock increases the demand for homes in and around these choice centres, so expect some competition if you plan to search here. If you persevere, chances are you will land a property with innate beauty and endless potential.
Frequently Asked Questions
- As a dynamic practice operating in London’s premium residential market, managing projects remotely and conducting virtual meetings was a very familiar territory for us, long before the pandemic began and ‘working remotely’ became the norm.
- Our clients have very busy lifestyles and may move between several different locations, both within the UK and beyond, during the lifecycle of a typical project.
- To accommodate such client needs and enable us to run their projects smoothly we had all the technology and know-how associated with remote working in place for several years.
- Read our full (Virtual) Process
- Scenario based design – We start each and every project with a meticulous analysis of our client’s vision, requirements and aspirations. We do this by asking our clients to imagine their everyday scenarios living in the completed house and describe their desired interaction with it.
- Uniquely interactive - Our client’s deep involvement in the process does not stop with completion of the brief. Our design meetings are highly interactive, informal and fun.
- Designed to reflect you – Based purely on your lifestyle, aspirations and requirements and free from externally imposed concepts, metaphors and pre-conceptions, a completely fresh and unique design will gradually emerge and it will tell your story not ours.
- Collaborative – We start the conversation with planners early and advise most of our clients to seek pre-planning advice prior to submission of a full planning application. Our experience shows that when properly consulted and liaised with, most planning case officers will be receptive to conduct a professional dialogue, increasing chances of successes.
- Strategic – We tailor a custom planning strategy for each project based on its circumstances such as planning history, local context and specific challenging elements. We sometimes split applications or introduce minor tweaks to the scheme during the consideration period in conversation with the officers to prevent one contentious element from jeopardising approval of the main scheme.
- Professional – Our experience shows that the quality and clarity of the submission in terms of background research, planning history of the property and context, precedent and of course the arguments presented to support the case has a tremendous effect on success rate.
- The decision period clock only starts ticking once the application is validated by the Council, This requires then to check that the forms are completed correctly and that the submission contains all the necessary drawings, statements and reports.
- Although required by law to provide a decision within the statutory eight weeks period, it is not uncommon for councils to miss the deadline of the consideration period, normally only by a few days, sometimes longer.
- In some cases the council may ask us as your agent for an extension of time, this may be requested due to internal reasons or as an acceptable result of a professional discussion that we are conducting with them about certain aspects of the application that they are not sure about.
- Our experience shows that planning officers respond better to projects when they feel consulted and collaborated with. We find that when we truly listen to their often helpful and valid feedback and treat them as consultants for the projects and not representative of an evil enforcing authority, they tend to collaborate well with us and demonstrate increased flexibility.
- Although the council in theory have eight weeks to consider your application, in practice they are constantly overloaded. They will only look at your application in the last few days of the consideration period. If this is the first time that they come across a scheme that they were never consulted about, our chance to secure permission for you in a single attempt is significantly compromised.
- The standard practice is for the council to consider the full planning application as submitted and then issue a yes or no decision. Case officers are not required or even encouraged to enter a discussion with us or accept resubmission of minor changes to the proposed scheme during the consideration period.
Should You Demolish And Rebuild?
Regarding home improvement, the idea of demolishing a home in its entirety and beginning all over again may not seem like the smartest move initially. Starting from scratch not only takes a lot of effort but seemingly would cost a fortune, right? Well, in many areas of the UK, knocking everything down and rebuilding actually saves you a lot more than you’d think. In parts where individual plots are scarce, it can actually be one of the best ways to get the home you feel you deserve. Let’s have a little chat about demolishing and rebuilding, discussing the good and bad along the way:
When Would One Look To Demolish And Rebuild In The First Place?
Typically, someone looking to demolish and begin a rebuild project would target older homes that were built to suit generations of years gone by. We’re talking about bungalows and detached houses that were built around the post-war austerity era and around the 1970s. These kinds of homes were never going to stand the test of time and were never going to last forever. People had different lifestyles, different energy efficiency, and different levels of comfort. It may not be that long ago, but so much has changed – and these properties can be pretty difficult to sell.
These houses of years gone by were built with much smaller rooms than what are expected in this day and age. These rooms also have no real versatility like the modern home of the 21st century. They’re also built with little-to-no heating and hardly any installation. Finally, and quite unfathomably, a lot of these properties were not built with a bathroom. An obvious necessity in this day and age.
The good thing about this kind of property, however, is that these locations tended to have a lot of land. This meant that you could build pretty much whatever you wanted on your own property – before certain laws and acts came in and blocked the right.
Are All Properties Able To Be Demolished And Redone?
Some will be more difficult than others, as you can imagine. For instance, terraced houses and semi-detached houses will likely be a non-starter as you’d have to secure consent to demolish and rebuild. This consent would need to be received by many, many parties. When it comes to older homes, you need to consider whether demolishing is even necessary as there is still a high demand and strong market for period houses. Rebuilding would be a much worse idea than a simple revamp or refurbishment.
Buildings that are marked as historical or have architectural significance have been protected by the listed buildings scheme. You will not be able to touch these properties even if you really pushed for it. There are plenty out there that are available, however. If you ever look to demolish a building, you’ll likely find out whether it’s illegible for this kind of thing or not as somebody or note will step in and stop the project in its tracks.
When it comes to the actual planning and the regulations behind it all, you must ensure you have a pre-planning meeting to assess what is available and what isn’t. Due to many replacement projects involving so many small existing homes on larger plots, making the volume larger is usually allowed as long as you reach an agreement with local planners. When discussing a few items, you might be able to argue that the home you’re proposing to build will have a lower environmental impact than the smaller one it will replace.
In green belt areas, new work is typically not allowed. Replacement dwellings, however, are seen as more acceptable. There are strict policies on what can be allowed regarding increases in footprint or volume. Sometimes, if a property looks as though it is rundown and abandoned, it will be ruled unavailable for any further residential use. This will make it unsuitable for rebuilding. If you ever look to rebuild on a property, make sure you’re actually able to go through with it.
How You’ll Look To Benefit Financially From Replacements
If you take a little look at the value of building plots, you can see that most will cost as much as (or more than) the price of a current property on the market. This is due to the value of the land not being dictated by what is currently on it – but the potential it has, should it ever be properly worked on.
On the whole, demolishing a property is not that expensive. A few thousand would be the height of the fee involved and the main cost is mainly based on disposing of the wasted bits and pieces. In order to demolish, you’ll need to ensure you have building control approval – this will consist of the commissioning of environmental and asbestos surveys. If you’re borrowing at all, you must make sure that your lender is happy for you to demolish and rebuild a property.
Renovating And Rebuilding – The Difference Regarding VAT
Demolishing and rebuilding has one thing categorically over any kind of extension or refurb – and that’s the VAT. You can reclaim on materials used when building a new property and labour is zero-rated. Work on an existing structure is 20% VAT on both, however. The overall cost is significantly less at the end of the day, and you’ll happily end up with left over money once the job has been completed.
Extra Pros For Demolishing And Rebuilding
If you need any more positives and benefits, then here they are:
You’re going to be creating an entirely new home that fits the style in your mind’s eye and fits the comfort levels you’re expecting. An existing property is also likely to have access to the main services you’ll need, such as electricity, water, gas, and drainage. Finally, easements and wayleaves for managing this property will already be in place.